Analysis Fix

Like Obamacare Website, Glitches In Common App Add To College Stress

 

By Jenny Neufeld
Reporter
PELHAM, N.Y. – What do high school seniors and uninsured
Americans have in common?
The websites for both Obamacare and the common application used
for college admissions have been under fire the past few months.
Back in October, the Obama Administration introduced the highly
anticipated and greatly criticized Obamacare website, healthcare.gov.
Within hours, people complained the site was slow or had crashed.
Like the healthcare site, the Common App site has been
experiencing almost identical issues.
Over the summer of 2013, CommonApp.org, a site for prospective
college students to use in applying to most colleges and universities in the
United States, went through a major revamp.
In addition to new questions and terms, changes in the design
and structure of the website were evident, including new ways to choose
colleges and submit supplements such as essays and recommendations.
Although the change was an attempt to make the college process
easier on both students and admissions officers, many believe these changes
have been for the worse.
Those who created both websites meant well, but their work
suffered in execution.
These are examples of what happens when you try to rush a
project to its final format before research and development have worked out all
the bugs.
Like healthcare.gov, the 2013 Common App crashed
the moment it was released to the public.
Since then, the site has experienced major difficulties,
including slow connections and many crashes.
Some glitches would not let students save their supplemental
essay online, which made applying impossible, as that essay is one of the most
important parts to the application.
The frustration has also become evident on both ends. Forty-six
colleges extended their early decision deadlines to as late as November 15
because of the problems, more than two weeks after their normal cutoff date.
Cornell University, for example, wrote to prospective students
that “your senior year should be filled with excitement as you consider where
the next four years of your life will take you. Instead, we know that many
students are feeling frustrated as they work to complete and submit an
application through the Common Application. The transition to the new online
Common Application has been challenging for everyone. We understand your
worries and are committed to working with you through this process.”
It’s not hard to understand that these two websites would have
high traffic volume.
The Common App is just as essential to the average high school
senior as health care is to the average American citizen.
So why have these sites crashed? Why didn’t the federal
government anticipate high activity, given that it promoted the website as part
of its goal of providing health care for most Americans? Why did the Common App
site fail as well?
Many will search for answers, but one lesson can be learned
already.
If you try to submit work before it’s ready, the odds are that
you can expect that something will go wrong.
And for users? Do what you have to do to succeed. Don’t let a
glitch stand in your way of opportunities, whether it’s securing healthcare or
that hopeful college acceptance letter.
In the long run, after all, it won’t be the Common App
Association that is disappointed that you didn’t meet your deadlines, and it won’t
be President Obama who’s worrying about how you’ll pay for that broken leg.